Merlo Davidson Settlement Agreement (RCMP)


The terms of the Merlo Davidson Class Action settlement agreement provided for the Independent Assessor to draft a report of observations and recommendations in the claims process. The final report along with the RCMP response was publicly released on November 19, 2020.

Proposed Response:


Merlo Davidson Class Action

The Merlo Davidson class action settlement concerns gender and sexual orientation-based harassment and discrimination of female RCMP members and public service employees in the workplace from 1974 to 2017. In 2017, the Federal Court approved a settlement that established a confidential and independent Claims Process and compensation scheme overseen by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice, the Hon. Michel Bastarache, C.C.,Q.C. as Independent Assessor.

A total of 3,086 claims were filed between August 2017 and May 2018. The Assessor determined that 2,304 claimants were entitled to compensation under the settlement agreement, for a total of $125.4 million in compensation payments. 

The Final Report and Findings

The terms of the Settlement Agreement provide for the Independent Assessor to “draft a report that will provide an overview of [his] observations and recommendations stemming from his work in assessing claims.” The final report, Broken Dreams Broken Lives: The Devastating Effects of Sexual Harassment on Women in the RCMP, was publicly released on November 19, 2020.

The final report concludes that the RCMP culture is “toxic” and “tolerates misogyny and homophobia at all ranks and in all provinces and territories.”  While the claims covered a 40-year period, the Assessor observes that the conduct reported persisted over time and his report speaks to the culture that currently exists. The report acknowledges the positive changes that have been made in response to past reports on workplace harassment and discrimination; however, it finds that despite these efforts, the RCMP has failed to resolve this pervasive problem.

Additionally, the report sets out the treatment that claimants described to the three Assessors, including use of offensive language; discrimination in access to promotions and training; frequent incidents of sexual misconduct; and fear of reprisals if complaints were filed. LGBTQ2S women or women of Indigenous or racialized heritage were found to often be treated even more poorly.  The report also addresses the impact on the lives of the claimants and their families, including loss of mental health, loss of family and connection, and personality changes. 

The report sets out 52 recommendations grouped as follows: systemic barriers; recruitment, training, recruit field training, postings, ongoing training, human resources and staffing, maternity and parental leave and employment flexibility, grievances and discipline, mental health, promotions, leadership, specialized teams, medical examination and civilian members and public service employees. Ultimately, the report indicates that “there are strong reasons to doubt that the RCMP has the capacity or the will to make the changes necessary to address the toxic aspects of its culture” and that “true change can only take hold in the RCMP if independent external pressure is brought to bear on it.”

RCMP Response

The RCMP response to the final report was posted its external website on November 19, 2020.

Building on efforts to date under the RCMP’s Vision 150 modernization plan, the RCMP response commits to a holistic approach to culture change and an RCMP free of violence, harassment and discrimination.

The RCMP response acknowledges the recommendations, which cross four key areas, many of which are already underway as part of a long-term approach to a healthy and inclusive workplace:


Prepared by:, Executive Director for the Independent Centre for Harassment Resolution Celine Larabie,  613-240-8701

Approved by: Chief Administration Officer Frances McRae, 613-825-7675

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